Bucks: Bobby Portis declines player option, will become free agent

As expected, Milwaukee forward Bobby Portis has declined his player option for the 2022-23 season and will become a free agent.

ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski was the first to report the news of Portis turning down the option that would have paid him $4.6 million next season.

Milwaukee is expected to try to hold on to the versatile and valuable Portis. Filling in at center for an injured Brook Lopez for much of the regular season, Portis set career-highs in points (14.6) and rebounds per game (9.1) while shooting 39.3% from beyond the arc.

Because Portis has spent two seasons with Milwaukee, the team has early bird rights that would allow it to offer a 4-year, $49 million contract to the 27-year-old. With the season Portis had, it’s possible he could demand more on the open market.

NBA free agency begins Thursday at 5 p.m. CT with players and teams able to negotiate deals but not sign them.